USA Hockey announced today that Mike Lee of the Fargo Force has been named the recipient of the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award – the second consecutive season and seventh time overall that a goaltender from the USHL has captured USA Hockey's most cherished award for the position.
Lee posted a 26-15-4 record during the 2008-09 regular season with a 2.40 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .918 save percentage (SV%). His win total and save percentage ranked second among USHL goaltenders (behind only the 35 wins by Brett Bennett of Indiana and the .920 SV% by Kevin Murdock of Lincoln). Lee also ranked second in the USHL in minutes played at the goalie position (2,745) and third in total saves (1,235). His three shutouts this season tied for second in the league, with all three coming during a spectacular 15-game span in goal from January 31st to March 28th, when Lee registered a 12-1-2 record, 1.68 GAA, and .943 SV%.
Lee earned recognition as the USHL Goaltender of the Year presented by Stauber's Goalcrease. The first-year netminder for the expansion Fargo Force was also selected to the USHL All-Rookie Team, helping to lead the Force to the Clark Cup Finals with consecutive three-game sweeps of the team's first round opponent, the Omaha Lancers, and semi-finals foe, the Lincoln Stars. In fact, Lee won his first seven postseason appearances posting a 1.69 GAA and a .951 SV%.
In November, the native of Roseau, Minnesota helped the U.S. Junior Select Team capture a tournament title at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge while also being named to the All-Tournament Team after recording a perfect 4-0-0 record and a 2.00 GAA.
"Congratulations to a strong goaltending talent and a great young man," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "Mike took his game to a new level this season, and no one in U.S. hockey did it better."
NHL Central Scouting ranks Lee fourth among North American goaltenders leading into the NHL Entry Draft in June. Lee is committed to play collegiate hockey at St. Cloud State University.
The Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year presented by Bauer Hockey is chosen from the pool of goaltenders who attend the USA Hockey Select 16 and Select 17 Festivals. Lee will be presented the award in June at the USA Hockey Annual Congress in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Previous USHL recipients of the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year:
2008 – Drew Palmisano, Omaha Lancers
2006 – Alex Stalock, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
2005 – Jeff Lerg, Omaha Lancers
2003 – Dominic Vicari, River City Lancers
2000 – Adam Berkhoel, Twin Cities Vulcans
1995 – John Hultberg, Dubuque Fighting Saints
The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 175 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.ushl.com.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)